Three years ago, I was caught off guard by the surprisingly funny Horrible Bosses. But, at the end of my review, I specifically mention that a sequel probably wouldn’t be the right move. Horrible Bosses had the fun premise of, “Ever wish your boss were dead?” Horrible Bosses 2 isn’t about killing your boss and the villains of the movie aren’t even their bosses. The stars from the first film have all returned for the second installment and some new fresh faces have been added, but the real question remains: can this sequel provide the laughs that the first was easily able to provide? Or is it just a cash grab?
The movie picks up a few years after the first film left off. Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day) have pioneered a new invention, the Shower Buddy. After going on television to promote their homemade product, they are approached by a Burt Hanson (Christoph Waltz) and his son, Rex (Chris Pine). While things go relatively smoothly during negotiations, Burt ends up screwing the the buddies and putting them massively in debt. In order to get their revenge and save their careers, they crack a plan to kidnap Rex. In classic fashion for these three, things go pear shaped and they drive away without kidnapping anyone. Then they realize that Rex has kidnapped himself and is a little too enthusiastic about joining in on their scheme. This launches Nick, Kurt, and Dale into their second experience in the life of crime.
Bateman, Sudeikis, and Day all bring that same chemistry for comedy back in full force. The three of them interacting is easily the strongest part of the movie, providing plenty of little laughs throughout. As you watch, you can tell that the actors play off of one another and feed into the semi- ad-libbed jokes and dialogue. Sadly, the evil bosses that return from the first film, Aniston and Spacey, both felt like pretty weak roles in this movie. Spacey’s very limited screen time was dedicated to awkwardly swearing and acting angry, while Aniston was forced to rehash all of the same jokes from her role in the original. While Christoph Waltz didn’t seem like he wanted to be there, Chris Pine really shocked me in his role. Pine slid right into the comedic role and added his sleazy charm onto the winning combination of the three leads.
Unfortunately, the chemistry of the leading men wasn’t quite enough to trump the lack of original jokes that Horrible Bosses 2 slings out. If you’re familiar with the first film, you’ll catch many of the rehashed jokes and situations. I understand that some people may enjoy self-referential humor, but this film can’t pull it off. These old jokes seem forced and obvious, making for more than a few eye-rolls. While the premise of the first movie was pretty outlandish, the second goes even more over-the-top with elaborate spy missions and car chases. There are certainly a fair amount of laughs to be had while watching Horrible Bosses 2, but they almost entirely come from the quipped dialogue and one-liners and rarely come from anything else.
Despite being completely unnecessary, Horrible Bosses 2 is able to milk some laughs out of the chemistry from its trio. If you loved the first film, I’m sure you’ll be happy to see many of the characters reprising their roles and getting a little more screen time. For anyone else, you’re likely to grow bored of the vulgar jokes and ridiculous events that take place. Horrible Bosses 2 certainly turned out much better than it could have been, but it doesn’t come close to the originality and genuine humor that the first film had in spades.
Horrible Bosses 2
3 Stars out of 5
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